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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
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Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
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“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
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Sherrie
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
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This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
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I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister

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Short Little Spans of Attention

These are not my children. Never too early to start a technology addiction…

I can’t reach my kids.  And I think I know why.  They have the attention spans of minnows.  I can’t say that only children have this problem.  We adults are just as bad with our iPhones and web browsing.  Hell, I probably already lost you. 😉

 

Houdini vs. Angry Birds

 

 I have this desire to be a meaningful guide.

 

It’s very frustrating because my kids don’t care.  They can’t.  I used to think it was my fault because I didn’t do enough engaging activities with them, but I’ve found that even if I do, very often they don’t want to join in or halfway through the event their eyes roll back in their heads as they seize with boredom.  I have asked them to fully participate for more than ten minutes.  They can’t take it.  Where’s the commercial break?  Where’s the reward for killing all the militant zombies?  Why hasn’t something exploded?  My mom, a former pre-school teacher, said that toward the end of her teaching tenure she practically had to be Houdini to keep the kids’ attention.  I don’t even know if Houdini could entertain my kids for more than one daring act. 

 

I can and will take the low hanging fruit and blame television and technology for the epidemic of short term focus.  Each Disney tween show is jam packed with loud dialogue, constant movement, and shallow characters.  Not a message or a moral to be found. When there is no message or moral the brain goes on vacation and becomes a vapid vacuum of passivity in rolling fifteen minute increments.  And yes, I know if I was a real concerned parent I would yank the flatscreen off the wall and go all Kashi  anti-boobtube.   And by the way, we do limit T.V., but the damage is insidious.  Other screens creep in, such as iTouches and computers. YouTube offers snippets of reality for hours of ricocheting between banal song parodies and what the world’s fattest girl is up to.  I actually observed my son’s mouth gape open, as he gazed into the flicker of his monitor, spittle and his soul slowly dripping over his lower lip onto the exercise ball he uses for a chair.  At this point, I can still save him by rush-tackling his languid body, knocking him to the ground, and dousing him with cold water.  Who knows if that will work forever? 

 

Planting Seeds

 

A recent attempt to thwart the attention sucking screens met with frustration and despair (mine not theirs).  I so desire to be the family that stays together because we play together, but mental effort is a barrier.  I hinted for weeks for Bryce (oldest 11) to help me pick out seeds for our deck garden.  No bites.  I bought the seeds myself.  I asked,  Who wants to help me plant seeds?  Crickets.  Finally, one day after school I was able to get Anna (7) and Bryce to help.  To be honest, Bryce had sprained his ankle and was physically incapable of getting away from me.  Our middle son, Josh, was at a friend’s (most likely playing Xbox).  Five minutes into the planting, Anna’s best friend arrives at our house.  Anna wants to be done, but I talk her into five more minutes of helping.  Bryce starts planting but doesn’t even think of reading the directions on the back of the packet – too time consuming.  After each type of vegetable he asks if he can be done.  So much for a meaningful activity shared between family members.  Just last year Bryce loved farming with me.  He kept saying This is fun mom!   Novelty is fleeting. 

 

Revelations

 

While ranting into this piece, three insights came to me:

 

1.  I need to do more active, sporty, large-motor skilled activities with the family.  Admittedly, not my favorite, but I have been known to throw a baseball around or take a bike ride through the neighborhood.  Swimming is the one activity I resist because swimming and I are like Twinkies and tuna.  We don’t mix.   I see running, fishing and strength training in our future. 

 

2.  I have a real fear of my kids growing up to be robotical twits with the depth of a cookie sheet.  Maybe it’s because it took me 35 years to freely express myself and I don’t want them to waste time being dim. They could be exploring this amazing planet and sharing excitement with other colorful beings. 

 

3.  I can’t make the kids find meaning in things.  I can only introduce them to opportunities.  They have to learn through intimate experiences, not just an intellectual presentation.  I know they have their own definitions of meaningful.  They are not me.  As an introvert, I naturally gravitate toward activities with a slow pace and deep messages.  I realize kids prefer liveliness.  I also know I don’t do well pinballing between activities.  I’m one errand away from a breakdown when I’m burned out.   My energy is limited by this, theirs isn’t.  Fortunately, my husband doesn’t mind swimming or afternoon trips to the rock wall.  I just have to pry him away from his computer and iPhone…

 

The One Thing That Works

 

We have found traveling to be the perfect family activity.  It combines action and adventure with exploring and meaning.  Of course, we can’t travel every week of the year, but in between trips, we can visit nearby attractions and landmarks or discuss and plan the next journey.  The best part about traveling… boobtube and YouTube can be left at home.

 

 

Is technology giving or taking away meaning in our lives?  How do you maintain humanity in your home? 

Related posts:

When Parenting Overwhelms (space2live)

In Defense of Introverted Parents (space2live)

Live…Naturally: Less Technology, More Meaning (space2live)

Like to read more on how to regain focus and meaning in life?  Check this out http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2011/02/take-back-your-attention.html

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5 Comments

  1. Debbi August 11, 2011 at 2:42 am - Reply

    Technology gives, but if not balanced, it takes much more. There is no brain activity while watching tv which means we gain nothing from it, and I believe it softens our sharp thinking skills and our ability to use…or even see…our creative skills/thoughts. If I want to do something electronic related, I try to make it something active on the computer…it doesn’t always work…but I try. I find that when I do that, I often get board and walk away from the tv and computer all together and do cook, walk, read, workout, etc.

    I agree that if you want kids to take interest in specific activities, you have have to do it with them. I’ve seen parents simply encourage them, and it has the opposite effect. Be creative in searching for a macro activity that you might find intriguing too.

    • brennagee August 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Good point about parents doing activities with kids. Words from the sidelines don’t seem to work as well. I am learning that now. Thank you for reading and giving heart-felt responses.:)

  2. brennagee August 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    In a humbling turnabout, my daughter told me today that she feels I spend more time on my computer than with her and her brothers. Ouch! I guess I need to observe my own attention…

  3. kateshrewsday August 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    This is great: it grabs a very big scary bull by the horns. I love your conclusions: we can’t change the world we live in but we can act cannily in response to it. Some great ideas. Thank you 🙂

    • brennagee August 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. Occasionally, desperate rants lead to crystallization and insight.;) I care deeply about our abilities to reflect and find meaning.

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